Credit Union error exposes data of 18,000 members


July 02, 2014

Members of the Stanford Federal Credit Union in California are being notified that a security breach has left their information exposed.

Around 18,000 members of the Union had data breached when an employee of the organisation inadvertently sent an email to another employee. A significant amount of sensitive data was sent, including names, member identification numbers, personal addresses, loan offers and credit information.

The mistake was spotted shortly after the email was sent, and the data was subsequently destroyed with haste. The Union then began contacting members to alert them to the breach, in addition to offering a free year of identity theft protection services.

"Protecting the privacy and security of your personal information is one of Stanford Federal Credit Union's top priorities," CEO of Stanford Federal Credit Union Joan Opp explained in a release.

The Stanford Federal Credit Union also put measures in place to ensure a similar leak never occurs again, including additional security software, and operational protocols. This is the best course of action for assured vulnerability management, as staff need to understand how even inadvertent emails can be a cause of substantial data breaches.

Joan Opp explained that the customer information is almost certainly secure, and assured users the safety of Federal Credit Union services.

"While we are confident this information was never seen by unauthorised individuals and you are not at risk, we feel it is important to communicate with our members in any situation involving their information or accounts," she explained.

"While we have state-of-the-art technology and security systems in place to protect our members, human error is an unfortunate aspect of doing business."

Even the best security systems can be rendered useless by staff error, and as such it's essential that staff understand how a breach can occur.

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